Chawanmushi or steamed eggs are showing up left and right. They are picking up popularity at top NY restaurants – it’s a staple at Brushstroke, a brunch special at North End Grill, and an available culinary disaster at Sushi Yasuda.
As usual, the internet is filled with recipes, but what is a recipe for something like this, if you cannot tell if it’s perfect from the *inside*? For example, the chawanmushi at Sushi Yasuda is quite good looking on the outside, but the inside is filled with bubbles and is tasteless..
The egg needs to be silky and delicious, not too dense, and not too light. Here is how I like it best. With videos!
There are only 2 main ingredients: Eggs and water. Although I’m sure you’d find that recipe riveting, I decided to post a fancier version for the sake of variety.
My mother always made this with water and a little salt, which is perfectly fine. When I’m lazy, I make it with water, salt, and a splash of mirin. I had some extra time this morning, so I made a dashi base, which is just boiled dried seaweed and some bonito flakes. I then scoop out some clear dashi and let it cool for my “water”. Remember to add a dash of salt. It helps bring out the taste of the egg.
I like to boil my bonito flakes and konbu with a strainer so that I can remove them from the soup easily.
Like all egg custards, one of the most important things is not having bubbles in the egg mixture. But for the sake of sanity, just whisk the eggs and deal with the bubbles later. Save the egg shells!!
Hopefully you have at least one well-preserved egg shell half. A really nice trick I learned is using the shell to measure the water. The ratio should be and the *very least* 3 half shells of water to 1 egg, and at the most 8 half sells of water to 1 egg. I like a ratio of 6:1.
As you add the water, you’ll notice that the bubbles will form a nice little layer on top. They are really easy to skim with a spoon.
I run the egg mixture through a strainer anyway (I reused the strainer from the dashi), because there’s always some egg gunk that’s not perfectly mixed. Toss it!
This is what the final mixture should look like. Perfect. Bubble-less.
The egg is then left to steam for about 10 minutes.
I love extras. I sliced some green onions…
And made some sauce with the dashi. I just added some green onion bottoms, a little extra soy sauce, and some sesame oil.
I throw the green onions in about 7-8 minutes into cooking so they partially sink into the egg.
To tell if the egg is cooked, you can shake the pot, and it should jiggle like set Jello, without watery ripples underneath.
Another way to test if the egg is cooked is by poking it open with a spoon. The liquid should be clear, and the egg should be solid like gelatin.
Here’s the finished result.
It’s important not to overcook the egg, so remove it shortly after it jiggles like a solid. You have about 5 minutes to get it out of the pot before the egg overcooks and starts puffing up.
Such a delicious warm breakfast. Perfect for a gloomy morning! Each ramekin was 1 egg, so all that water increases the volume quite a bit (by 300% in fact).
The delicious jiggle of a perfectly cooked steamed egg custard.